50 MMOs in 50 Days #42: Spiral Knights

Last played: 2011
Experience: Very Minimal

At least it isn’t in imminent danger of being shut down, but I did have a bit of a “huh” moment when, just a few hours before I wrote this, I noticed someone in a forum saying he was looking for more people to play Spiral Knights with. It’s just another odd case of me hearing something notable about a game I haven’t played in years just as I’m getting ready to write about it.

Looking for a partner or three seems like a particularly good idea for Spiral Knights, since the gameplay revolves around four-man instanced content accessed via a central hub. Think of it as a cutesy kind of Gauntlet if you want. You and the other knights are stranded on a planet and start your adventure in the Haven, which sits above the Clockworks, which are accessed by a number of gates in Haven. The Clockworks environment you wind up in depends on what minerals are fed into the gates; one combination might lead to a grassland world, which another might lead to an underground lair with all sorts of mechanized monsters.

I love this idea as a way of procedurally generating content. I don’t know exactly how randomized the worlds were, if messing with the minerals in the gates led to totally different layouts or if they just had an effect on the environments. A few other games have also taken this route, but I don’t know if it’s been utilized to its fullest extent in a AAA game. If anyone can think of an example, let me know.

As you can see from the video, combat isn’t just about hacking and slashing waves of weak enemies – though there certainly is plenty of that. I suppose my issue with the game was both my lack of someone to play with and the relative sparsity of abilities. I seem to recall having a sword, a gun, and a shield, and not much else, though there was a little variety in the different attacks. Not that I’m looking for full MMO-style hotbars with 20+ abilities, but I guess I just need a few more options to keep me entertained.

It also seemed like the only thing to do was kill stuff, repeat, and gear grind. Again, that makes it a bit more like Warframe than a “real” MMO, and I don’t play Warframe for pretty much the same reason: I need a bit more than that to keep me into a game for the long haul. Still, as a hack-and-slasher, it’s pretty fun, and I’d definitely recommend it for the odd evening of simple fun, especially if you can find some friends.

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